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By NBF News

A Lagos-based literary group, Africa Liberty Organisation, celebrated 209th posthumous birthday of a French legislator and literary icon, Frederic Bastiat. The ceremony, which took place at the Main Hall of the Oshodi-Isolo Local Government, featured public presentation of a book, Selected Essays on Political Economy, that contained some of Bastiat's essays written while in the French Legislative House.

Also, some of the past winners of an essay competition organised by the group in Bastiat's honour received their cash prizes at the event witnessed by academics, politicians, students as well as members of the community.

Speaking on the occasion, the coordinator of the organisation, Mr. Adedayo Thomas said 'Bastiat is being celebrated for his immense contribution to the socio-economic and political development of the world through his literary works.'

According to him, his group, African Liberty Organisation wanted to encourage the Nigerian youth to emulate Bastiat, who though lived for only 49 years (1801-1850), made meaningful contribution to humanity.

Bastiat's life, Thomas explained, was significant to Nigeria in two major ways, pointing out that 'in a country where youth restiveness is the order of the day and where there is political, economic and social instability, emulation of his life by our youth is imperative.'

It was against this background, Thomas explained, that the African Liberty Organisation decided to make his book available to the public free of charge as well as organise essay competitions to bring out the best among the Nigerian youth.

One of the topics of the essay competitions to be written by any interested participant is, A Free Market Economy: The Missing Link in African Development.

Prizes for the maiden essay competition won by five participants – a Cameroonian ($1000), a Kenyan ($800), and three Nigerians ($600, $400, and $200 respectively) were announced.

While Nigerian winners collected their prizes at the event, arrangements were made to contact the other two winners who are Cameroon and Kenya nationals.

One of the Nigerian winners, Mr. Japhet Omojuwa, who wrote the essay while studying Agricultural Economics at the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, expressed delight, saying, he never knew the organizers were serious about the competition.

Omojuwa, who is now serving his fatherland in Adamawa State vowed to do better in subsequent competitions wondering 'if somebody could come first in the maiden competition, what stops me also to come first in the next one.'